5 Signs Of Anxiety In Cats
March is officially Pet Anxiety Awareness Month, which is why we asked our Vet Nurse and Behaviourist Expert Beth to write a blog on the signs of stress and anxiety in cats, helping you to know what to look out for.
It may seem obvious but our cats will often seek out hiding spots when feeling under threat. For some this may be under the bed or in a nice cosy cupboard, for others it may be under some foliage or even in a neighbours house! While some cats may be less confident than others and often spend time away from the hustle and bustle, we all know the behaviour that is ‘normal’ for our feline friends. If they suddenly start spending prolonged periods of time hidden away it may be due to feeling stress or anxiety.
Some cats may normally toilet outside or indoors in their litter tray but if they suddenly experience a change in their toileting habits it may be due to stress. This may include toileting in different areas of the house or for outdoor cats this may just be toileting in different areas outside, perhaps in an unusual area or closer to the house.
Some cats love to ‘talk’ with us, others are more quiet but if their level of vocalisation changes it may be due to anxiety or stress. Late night crying or excessive purring can all indicate stress. While purring is often associated with contentment, it’s not unusual for cats to purr in odd situations like when at the vets, this is because the frequency of purring can be relaxing for cats. In the same way you may hum your favourite song to improve your mood, stressed cats can purr to calm themselves down.
Changes in appetite
Cats are known for being fussy with food but there’s usually some favourite snacks that can tempt them into eating. If you’re cat is refusing eat food it may be due to stress and anxiety. Sometimes changing the location or style of the food bowl can help.
Cats are sensitive to stress and unfortunately high stress or anxiety levels can impact their overall health resulting in illness.
Anxiety can impact cats digestive tract which can lead to vomiting and in some cases diarrhoea or constipation. While it’s important to rule out any medical causes for an upset stomach, recurrent gastro symptoms can be as a result of chronic stress.
Urinary problems from infections to obstructions can also happen as a result of stress. While there are also other causes it’s important to manage stress in patients that suffer from urinary problems to prevent deterioration in their symptoms.
It’s important to remember that this list isn’t exhaustive and if you notice any changes in your pets routine or behaviour it may be worth a consultation with a vet or behaviourist.
Written by: Beth- Our Veterinary Nurse
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